Yesterday, the British Franchise Organisation (bfa) held their annual Women in Franchising conference. This year the purpose of the day was to Engage, Empower and Educate and I think everyone who attended would agree that this is exactly what the day did.
We heard inspiring real-life stories from franchisees: Carolyn Sharpe (Puddle Ducks) and Clare Jefferies (Home Instead Senior Care) as well as from franchisors Julie Clabby, founder of busylizzy and Rachel Ray, founder of Bright and Beautiful.
Stories which demonstrated exactly how a desire for life change coupled with a passion for business can be a potent recipe for success.
Former RAF fast jet pilot, Mandy Hickson’s keynote speech was another powerful reminder that the sky should be the limit for empowered and ambitious women.
Overall the event was highlighted the entrepreneurial skill and creativity that women bring to franchising.
But as discussed with our fellow delegates during the event’s networking sessions, there is still work to be done to encourage more female talent into this ever growing and increasingly profitable industry.
According to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills women have accounted for over half of the overall growth in self-employment since 2009.
However, the latest NatWest/bfa Franchise Survey found that the number of female franchisees actually dropped from 28% in 2011 to 23% in 2015. Only 17% of new franchisees were women in 2015, down from 38% in 2011.
The fact that a record number of franchises are currently reporting profitability makes franchising an attractive proposition to male and female entrepreneurs alike. But, given that women often look for more than just economic success, here’s a run-down of the other important reasons why buying a franchise can be a particularly appealing start up option for women.
Flexible working is slowly becoming more acceptable in the contemporary work place, but we’re not there yet. According to research in from specialist jobs website Workingmums.co.uk, in 2015 one in five working mums were forced to leave their jobs after their request to work flexibly was rejected.
Buying into a franchise can give you more scope to design your working life around other commitments.
It may be that you want to spend more time with your family or that you’re nearing retirement and want to cut down your hours, to allow you to concentrate on other interests.
If you do the research and choose the right franchise (there are currently over 900 franchises available in the UK), you can be the master of your working week.
2.Being your own boss
Have you always dreamed of owning your own business, but not had the courage to take the plunge?
Buying into a franchise can be the perfect halfway house. With franchising you have the opportunity to own a proven, readymade business.
So if all you’re missing is that initial jolt of confidence, becoming a franchisee can offer you exactly that, giving you the opportunity to create the business you’ve always wanted along with the satisfaction that goes with it.
Owning your own franchise will allow you to call the shots and to create your own internal culture for employees and customers alike, but importantly, you’ll still have the on-going support from your franchisor.
Equally, you will be able to share your experience and advice with new franchisees, meaning that you have the benefit of being part of a wider community, something which women often seek out.
It has been documented that women can be more risk adverse than their male counterparts.
In 2009, Leeds University Business School reported that having at least one female director on a company board actually cuts a company’s chances of going bust by about 20%. Perhaps being risk-averse helps…?
Statistically therefore, a female-owned franchise could well succeed where others fail.
Couple this with the fact that 90% or more of UK franchises have reported profitability, in all but one year since the start of the global recession in 2007/2008, and you should feel confident that your new business, if operated under a franchise, is statistically far more resilient than other propositions.
5.Make the most of your earning potential
As a franchisee, and owner of your own business, it is you who decides many hours to put in. If you choose to burn the midnight oil, or work over the weekends, you are the one who will reap the rewards.
The number of franchises available in the UK are gradually increasing, which means you’ll have choice enough to buy into a business that you are passionate about. A combination of hard work and inspiration should result in you be able to maximise your earning potential.
There’s no doubt, franchising can certainly lead to a more rewarding, more profitable and more satisfying working life.
But before you embark on your franchising adventure, make sure you’ve spoken to an expert, bfa affiliated, franchise consultant.
Are you a female entrepreneur looking for your next challenge? If so, then what are you waiting for?!
Goldstein Legal is a five-star rated, bfa Affiliated franchising law firm. Get in touch for a no-fee initial consultation.
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